Saturday, December 10, 2016

Dressmaking and knitting

My finished cowl top
There has been a lot of dressmaking going on over the past couple of weeks. I finished this cowl top after finding the design in issue 28 of "Love Sewing". I also made myself a black camisole to wear underneath since that front drape is extremely low. Both fabrics were found in my stash, which was rather useful.
The magazine article
I now need a pair of dressy black trousers to wear with it. My old ones are becoming rather shabby since they were bought some years ago.

A very nearly disastrous pair of culottes got completed and has been worn a number of times - so cosy and comfortable. I mentioned this briefly in my last post here you may recall. I had cut out the fabric without adding any seam allowances. The pattern originally came from a Burda Style magazine from 2015. Luckily there was a rather large dart in the back of each leg and a large pleat at the front of each leg. Reducing both of these gave me sufficient fabric to complete these, ready to be worn. I didn't have any material left over to remake these since the fabric was a remnant in my stash. Unfortunately, photos are difficult since these are a dark charcoal grey. Such a very stupid thing to do, but I seem to have got away with it.

Finished culottes

I also finished this rather useful and comfortable pinafore dress. The pattern came free with another magazine - the first issue of "Sew Now". I added a second pocket since I would have become rather irritated with only having a single pocket to the right hand side. Again. another piece of grey fabric from my stash.  A very practical colour, but not one that photographs very well in the dull weather we are having at present.

Zoe dress pattern


Completed Zoe with added pocket
I went on to make a couple of "Breton" tops with the pattern in my copy of "From Stitch to Style". These should be nice useful tops for the Spring and early summer. I can wear them now with a light polo necked top underneath for added warmth.

Breton top 
   The first one is a viscose jersey which I picked up in the          remnants section of a fabric shop some months ago.

  The second is cotton interlock jersey which I picked up from   the Quilt Festival at the NEC in Birmingham in August. This   came from Mauds Fabric Finds.

Second Breton top








Interlock cotton jersey waiting to be cut out
These two pieces of fabric are waiting to be cut out and sewn to be added to my winter wardrobe. I intend making the long sleeved polo neck version to help keep me warm. The fabric comes from a selection at Fabworks. I have my overlocker out and ready to start, but have a few Christmas presents to finish first. I hope you will forgive me if I don't share images of those. At least not until after Christmas.
Continuing work on cabled jumper
I'm currently merrily knitting a vintage 1989 cable pattern for a shawl neck jumper. The front is complete and the back is nearing that stage too. The yarn has been in my stash for some time, so it is good to feel that it is no longer languishing in a box. I'm not sure who will be wearing this when it is complete since my husband seems to rather like it...... Ah well, perhaps we can share this one.
Tizzy - completed top
A short while ago I finished this top. The design is by Martin Storey and dates from the time he was working for Jaeger. I used a pale blue yarn which had originally be a short sleeved cardigan. I really didn't like the cardi much, so ripped it back a few years ago. After quite some time hidden away in a box, the yarn has been reused to make this useful little top.

My aim at the moment is to use up as much stash fabric and yarn as I can. I am allowing myself some new fabric, but only if it is the kind of fabric not found in my rather larger stash. I am hoping to eventually make some more space in my cupboards. That way I might even be able to find new homes for some of my bulkier books.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Whoops! Been busy......


Old print cover for my small print board
I finally got round to replacing the cover on my small print board last week. This is the rather nice accidental patterning the old cover had. Rest assured I shall not be discarding this. I'm not entirely sure what I will do with it since I really don't want to cut it. Well, not yet.

All three print boards ready to go
You can see the small board with it's new cover sitting in front of my two larger boards. All ready to go. I just need a bit of time to settle down and enjoy a few hours printing.

My garden this morning
It really is autumnal outside now. The leaves were down on the grass this morning, making quite a colourful show.

Yarnbombing?
I spent last weekend in Harrogate with my sister. We went to the Knitting and Stitching Show. It was great fun. Walking around the town on Saturday we saw that the statues on top of the shopping centre were sporting knitted scarves and hats. Delightful.

Reprinted vintage patterns
I bought quite a lot of things at the show, taking a shopping list with me to make sure I didn't forget anything. My list was quite a long one this time since I haven't visited this show in a couple of years, but I still managed to buy some things which I really didn't need. These three patterns, for example. I really couldn't resist. The skirt pattern reminds me of a skirt I loved to wear years ago. It was such a comfy design. I lost that skirt long before I knew anything about making patterns to copy existing favourites. I'd been planning to buy the top pattern, but never got round to it. The 1930s evening dress I really fancy making, but cannot think where I would ever be able to wear it................ It is such an interesting design.

Indie patterns
Then I saw these patterns on this stand. The reversible pinny is such a popular design amongst so many people I meet. I just had to try it for myself. The coat will be really useful, but I think I shall make it with full length sleeves.

Samples for felting experiments

More samples for felting
I really couldn't leave these wool samples. The top collection was found on the International Feltmakers stand at the show. The lower set were collected from this stand. We had a really interesting chat to the man selling the yarn and the different fibres. I intend working on the International Feltmakers CiFT foundation course, and these will give me the impetus to get started. As a course, it is intended to give feltmakers the experience of trying a variety of different wools and other fibres amidst different techniques.

More purchases
These few purchases were to add to my collection of clips, knitting books and also the printing/dyeing stuffs I have at home. One thing I plan to do is work with thickened procian dyes, so the powders will help with that.


Vintage patterns
I really can't resist vintage patterns, so added more to my collection from the stand of Judith Mansfield books. Sadly they don't do mail order and don't have a website. The Vogue pattern dates from 1953, while the two Simplicity patterns date from 1972 and 1975. The last pattern is undated, but is such a lovely simple design and is possibly from the 1940s.

After leaving the show we were ready to just collapse in a heap, so retreated to the B&B we were staying in. Luckily it was a quick walk up the hill away from the show. 

The following day we went round my favourite charity shops in Harrogate. More vintage patterns:

Trouser patterns - clockwise - patterns dated 1986, 1996, 2001
 Some lovely bits and pieces I really couldn't leave behind:

Linen tray cloths, silk hankies and buttons

A rather interesting book which might just get me started in using my knitting machine:


My bags were extremely heavy by the end of our stay.

What else have I been doing? Well, I gave a couple of talks, put up an exhibition, completed some dressmaking projects too. The last of these is a pair of culottes which should be finished later today. I made the classic error of cutting them out without adding any seam allowance........... It would have been disastrous had it not been for the deep dart on the back and the large pleat at the front of the legs. A bit of tinkering about and I think they should fit well. An interesting problem, and one mistake I really shouldn't have made. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Giving a talk, being part of an exhibition and finishing things

Giving a talk - table full of items to show
A few days after my last post here, I was at Pinfold giving a talk. Since around half of the group had heard me talk about my quilts already, I decided to bring along a wide range of the other bits and pieces I mess around with. You can see a selection of quilts hiding in the quilted bags sitting on the floor. The table holds books and embroideries I have made over the years, a few three dimensional items too - my fish and a couple of teddies. I think it went well. The variety and quantity seemed to surprise people.

Making print blocks
Since the talk, I have been steadily working towards getting items completed for the Pinfold exhibition which took place on Saturday. You can see a few photos of the exhibition here. I have been a member of this group for some months now, but this is the first time I have been able to exhibit with them. The first piece of work being my journal quilts. I had the final four to complete.

The first thing I needed to do was to make some print blocks.

Completed print blocks
Then, after preparing four pieces with a blue gelliplate print, I got the printing done. Different shades of green. The added squares needed to be orange.

Overprinting a gelliplate print
After leaving these pieces to dry, it was time to get on with the free machine embroidery. I really enjoy doing this, using my bright lamps to augment the light from the machine itself.

Free machine work
You can just see the orange squares which have been bondawebbed in place towards the back of this photo.

Completed journal quilts on show
I managed to get the final four JQs finished in time for the exhibition. Here they are, hanging in place. They are in date order with the top line being January, February, March and April. The middle layer are May, June, July and August. The bottom layer has September, October, November and December. These are held together with safety pins, so I really need to sort out whether to permanently link these together.

Display of Whispers challenge books.
This lovely table shows the collection of Pinfold Chinese Whisper Challenge books. My book is right at the very back with my journal detailing the challenge being the orange book beside it.

African quilt peeking around the corner - beautiful challenge quilts by Pinfold members
Pinfold is a group of very talented textile artists. I feel myself very lucky to be part of their group and am learning a lot by taking part in their challenges and being able to chat to the members about the techniques they like to use.

Giving a talk, being part of an exhibition and finishing things

Giving a talk - table full of items to show
A few days after my last post here, I was at Pinfold giving a talk. Since around half of the group had heard me talk about my quilts already, I decided to bring along a wide range of the other bits and pieces I mess around with. You can see a selection of quilts hiding in the quilted bags sitting on the floor. The table holds books and embroideries I have made over the years, a few three dimensional items too - my fish and a couple of teddies. I think it went well. The variety and quantity seemed to surprise people.

Making print blocks
Since the talk, I have been steadily working towards getting items completed for the Pinfold exhibition which took place on Saturday. You can see a few photos of the exhibition here. I have been a member of this group for some months now, but this is the first time I have been able to exhibit with them. The first piece of work being my journal quilts. I had the final four to complete.

The first thing I needed to do was to make some print blocks.

Completed print blocks
Then, after preparing four pieces with a blue gelliplate print, I got the printing done. Different shades of green. The added squares needed to be orange.

Overprinting a gelliplate print
After leaving these pieces to dry, it was time to get on with the free machine embroidery. I really enjoy doing this, using my bright lamps to augment the light from the machine itself.

Free machine work
You can just see the orange squares which have been bondawebbed in place towards the back of this photo.

Completed journal quilts on show
I managed to get the final four JQs finished in time for the exhibition. Here they are, hanging in place. They are in date order with the top line being January, February, March and April. The middle layer are May, June, July and August. The bottom layer has September, October, November and December. These are held together with safety pins, so I really need to sort out whether to permanently link these together.

Display of Whispers challenge books.
This lovely table shows the collection of Pinfold Chinese Whisper Challenge books. My book is right at the very back with my journal detailing the challenge being the orange book beside it.

African quilt peeking around the corner - beautiful challenge quilts by Pinfold members
Pinfold is a group of very talented textile artists. I feel myself very lucky to be part of their group and am learning a lot by taking part in their challenges and being able to chat to the members about the techniques they like to use.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Learning Goldwork and quilting.

Colour challenge fabrics
A couple of weeks ago I got the next stage of the NWCQ Colour Challenge under way. Everyone taking part brought in a metre of fabric which was then split between all nineteen of us. To make this work, each metre was split up into twenty pieces, with the owner of each metre getting two twentieths of their fabric back along with one twentieth of everyone else's. This is my collection. A really exciting collection since at the last meeting we were all asked to choose one of the selected three colours and to bring one metre of that colour to the latest meeting. Well, we had a lot of fun writing the names of colours onto bits of paper, putting these into a box and then drawing out three at random. The colours chosen? Jade, grass green and elephant grey. The idea for this challenge came from a description of a similar challenge organised by Edwina MacKinnon at a Regional Day for The Quilters' Guild. 
I am so looking forward to what everyone makes with their fabric. The choice has been left completely open. It should be really interesting. The deadline for finished items is the January meeting. I shall keep my own plans to myself until then.......

felt workshop piece
The 25th September saw me heading off for a Felt workshop with Viv Netherwood. She was showing us how to make landscapes using felt. A really interesting workshop. My finished felt is above- not very interesting at the moment. I still have the stitching to do.

stitching sketch for felt
This is the sketch I made at the workshop as a plan for my piece. It is based on a photograph I took some years ago when I went on a hot air balloon ride. The photo has been manipulated to turn it into a black and white image. I wanted to have a go at a monochromatic picture for a change.

original photo
I've chosen a small section of the photo and moved things around slightly. I'll have to wait to stitch it until the African quilt is complete. I need to get that done before the talk I am giving next week. Did I tell you how good I was at prevaricating?

learning goldwork
Last Monday saw me learning Goldwork. It is something I have never tried before. This was my version of a star at the end of that day. The workshop was given by the very talented Sarah, who runs a company called "Golden Hinde" with her mother.

Africa quilt - top
The African quilt is nearly finished now. Just the rest of the stitching around the outer borders. I really enjoyed stitching the face images. You can see that I need to get a lot of tidying up done before that talk. A long session getting rid of all the fibres on the black fabric is required too. I didn't realise just how attractive to bits this black fabric is......... hmmm. Must remember that in future.

Africa quilt - the back
Oh yes, I actually finished the Goldwork star this afternoon. My next problem will be to decide which way up to mount it. The piece is sewn onto a blue silk dupion.

finished goldwork piece

Monday, September 19, 2016

Newly dyed dress
The last few days haven't seen a lot of stitching - I finished putting the pieces together on this dress which was started several months ago as an experiment. You can see my last post which mentioned the dress here. I must now get started on the rest of this project. However, it will have to wait until the African Crosses Quilt gets quilted. I must get this one out of the way. It has been stalled for rather too long as I prevaricated over getting all the stitching completed around each of the appliqued pieces.

African Quilt - pinned ready to quilt
Finally ready to quilt this one. It has been hanging around for far too long. I need to get it done before a talk I am giving next month. The dress will also need to be completed by then too......

African Quilt - ideas for quilting
For the quilt, I decided to revisit a design I played with some years ago. It is based on photos of a rather beautiful carved head which my daughter brought back with her from Tanzania. She wouldn't part with the head, so I took photos and completed a couple of embroideries based on it. I'm going back to the original photo for my quilting design. Must get this finished ready to start work on the quilt itself.

Recent reading matter
My head has not really been on quilting recently. I am keen on getting some dressmaking done this autumn. Not sure how I shall fit this all in, but I am going to try.

Exhibition visited in Macclesfield
On Friday, I found myself in Macclesfield. Whilst there, I visited this exhibition. There are some really interesting pieces on show here, and in the cafe area I found a series of delightful 3D bird sculptures in a mixture of felt and wire with some driftwood. They were made by Alison Rose. I am lucky enough to have gained a place on the workshop she is doing in October. We will be making birds. Such fun!

Exhibition visited in Stockport
Yesterday I travelled to Stockport and whilst there went to this exhibition in the Art Gallery. If you look at the top layer of images of the work on display, especially the image which is third from the left. In this image, on the bottom right corner is a design which should look rather familiar. Yes, it is the very same Tuareg cross which I used as the basis for the applique motifs on my African quilt. This image is of a piece made by Magie Relph where she has used her collection of crosses.
An interesting exhibition by Etcetera. I really enjoyed the wide variety of work on show.

After looking at all this wonderful work I really ought to get on and make something.